Interviews: Tracy Moseley, Mark Weir, and Ben Cruz

Words Seb Kemp
Date Jan 26, 2012

For the week of January 24 to 27, NSMB will be bringing you exclusive content about Enduro racing. There are more of these races popping up each year fed by enthusiastic organizers and keen competitors who want value for their money – Enduros generally mean a lot more time on your bike than downhill or even cross-country races – and a bit of biking fun. So what next?

NSMB.com Enduro Week Day Four

All NSMB.com Enduro Week articles are archived HERE for future reference.


Tracy Moseley

Tracy Moseley should need no introduction. She has been competing at the very highest level of downhill racing for almost as long as Steve Peat and after a great deal of success in World Cup – a series overall victory and the World Championship – over the years her direction and focus is changing. Although she will still be still racing some select World Cup downhills she will be entering more Enduro races under her new racing outfit, T-Mo Racing.

NSMB: What is Enduro racing?

TM: Enduro racing takes on many forms but is essentially a form of endurance downhill where not only your technical skill but also your fitness is tested.

Enduro seems like a broad term that is used to describe many forms of racing. Is this because it is getting to know itself or that variety is the spice of life?

I think Enduro is still developing but essentially there are many different ways in which we ride our bikes and therefore different formats for the races. I think its essential to have a variety of forms of Enduro to keep the sport growing and appealing to different people.
 
The UCI have clearly asserted that they plan to work with existing Enduro race organizers in the hope that a World Series of World Championship can arise. This question is two fold: What are the benefits to elite Enduro racers having a World Series? And what does this mean to the average rider who takes part in these races?

For Elite racers it will elevate the profile of the sport allowing increased media coverage and in turn more sponsorship opportunities. For an average rider it will give them chance to be part of a higher profile event. There is a downside to this that too much organisation and structure could ruin the fun, social low key nature of Enduro events at present so care needs to be taken to still have these type of events available alongside more professional races.

What does Enduro racing mean to the average rider? What relevance has Enduro racing got with everyday riding?

Enduro racing is what the average rider does on their everyday riding, going out for a good day out on your bikes, being social with their mates and racing each other on some sections. It really is what every great day on your bike is about!

Do you think Enduro racing has the potential to help push mountain biking to a more mainstream audience?

I think Enduro racing will appeal to many more riders than either XC or DH ever would as anyone can have a go at an Enduro whatever your ability, it’s not intimidating and there is not the same pressure that you would associate with DH racing.
 
What are the top Enduro events?

Megavalanche as it’s one of the original races and takes in an epic journey from glacier to valet bottom. The Italian Superenduro was another iconic race, with the beautiful location on the Mediterranean coast bringing Enduro to the town centre. I think the UK Gravity Enduros will also be great races this year as the locations are new and the racing will get more competitive as more people take Enduro seriously.

Can you envision a time when Enduro racing eclipses all other forms of racing? 

I don’t think it will ever eclipse other forms of racing but I think it will become its own discipline on an equal level and I think participation numbers could be huge… exciting times ahead for the sport.

NSMB.com Enduro Week Day Four Tracy Moseley Ben Cruz Mark Weir interview racing

Mark Weir

Mark Weir is North America’s leading Enduro racer. He has been forging a career in this direction before anyone even understood what it was all about. Some of his answers carry the same powerful and blunt riding style that he has.

NSMB: What is Enduro racing?

MW: Enduro is about enjoying yourself, it’s racing the best parts of trails with gas still in the tank to ride the trail at maximum speed in technical situations. Not about relying only on fitness and coasting down the hill. The perfect Enduro is one that leaves you with the feeling of power left over but the trail was so technical it made it hard to lay down that power. If you are too hard on equipment and lack finesse Enduro makes you pay. Either a weight penalty, which in turn is a time penalty. By a running a heavy set-up to make up for straight line mashing you just lost a minute on the climb. Enduro racing is calculation and knowing the way you ride and building the bike to get the most you can from your strengths. You can’t hide your weaknesses but you can disguise.

Enduro seems like a broad term that is used to describe many forms of racing. Is this because it is getting to know itself or that variety is the spice of life?

As soon as we try to cage it we will lose some of the meaning of Enduro. As long as some clown promoter does not make us do burpees then speed walk to our bikes and start it on a 5-minute climb for an 8-minute race we should be fine.

The UCI have clearly asserted that they plan to work with existing Enduro race organizers in the hope that a World Series of World Championship can arise. This question is two fold: What are the benefits to elite Enduro racers having a World Series? And what does this mean to the average rider who takes part in these races?

I think it will help the USA for sure. It will give promoters and racer a more clear picture of what its all about. It seems Europe has this style of racing dialed in already. Enduro racers over there know the style of Enduro they like best and they also know there is many different ways to race Enduro and still call it Enduro.

What does Enduro racing mean to the average rider? What relevance has Enduro racing got with everyday riding?

Relevance to the average rider? They get to reap the benefits of a finished product. Companies are all fighting for their piece of the all-mountain pie. With more attention towards Enduro there will be more resources being put towards all-mountain and Enduro style bikes. Price point bikes with a dialed fit and finish and build kit are here. Now you can buy an Enduro bike ready to go with all the bells and whistles: dropper posts, chain guide, clutch rear derailleurs, travel adjust, medium casing tires with dual compound, adjustable angle-set head set, all thrown on to a light weight super stiff carbon chassis. This bike was out of most people price range 5 years ago and also not feasible at that time to acquire the parts and compatibility you need to make it work. Back then you need grind and cut everything to fit. Shops really not willing to make that happen left it mostly up to the on-line consumer go-direct do it yourselfer guy. That had made it better for the small bike companies of the time to get their foot in the door in this under the radar discipline. Now all the big players are in the game. This is a good thing for Enduro, the sport and land use issues. We have bikes that take us farther now. We need to make sure we always have a place to ride them.

Do you think Enduro racing has the potential to help push mountain biking to a more mainstream audience?

It’s not really a spectator sport, unless we have a Danny Hart WC run. In order to get people interested they would need to get racer personality’s really involved in the coverage. And have about 500 cameras.

What are the top Enduro events?

Enduro series in France, Trans Provence stage race, and all Urge events.

Can you envision a time when Enduro racing eclipses all other forms of racing? 

It hasn’t already? Did for me… 

NSMB.com Enduro Week Day Four Tracy Moseley Ben Cruz Mark Weir interview racing

Ben Cruz

NSMB: What is Super D?

Super D is physical based endurance downhill racing. There tends to be alot of pedaling and isn’t anything super gnarly just buff trail riding. Most Super D races aren’t won by the most skilled DH rider but the skilled rider who is very strong and ready to throw down pedal strokes for a long time.

What is Enduro?

Enduro is what you make it. My idea of enduro is downhill based super technical riding long hard descents where all your skills come into play. Over seas they have a no practice rule in the Enduro series so it really levels the playing field when no one knows what’s around the next corner. Enduro is real mountain biking.

What makes Enduro so good?

Top 3 reasons are:
Anyone can do it.
It’s the funnest part of all disciplines in mtb mixed into one.
It’s Rad!!

What are your top three races?

Trans Provence is by far the best! 7 days hard climbs badass descents and the best part is no one knows the trails or where exactly we are going.

Downieville Classic because its a true hardass’s race. No sissies are gonna make it in that battle.

Megavalnche even though I’ve still not done it. Just the idea of sending that many people down a mountain at once is so sick.

NSMB.com Enduro Week Day Four Tracy Moseley Ben Cruz Mark Weir interview racing
Photo ~ Brian Raphael


Tracy, Mark, and Ben have some pretty well-set ideas about Enduro – and they’re ideas that are palatable to the average rider. Is that what Enduro really does? Brings everyone to a common level? Your thoughts below…

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